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Questions and Answers: Weymouth leasehold conveyancing

Estate agents have just been given the go-ahead to market my basement flat in Weymouth.Conveyancing is yet to be initiated but I have just received a half-yearly service charge demand – should I leave it to the buyer to sort out?

Your conveyancing lawyer is likely to suggest that you should clear the service charge as normal because all ground rent and service charges will be apportioned on completion, so you will be reimbursed by the buyer for the period running from after the completion date to the next payment date. Most management companies will not acknowledge the buyer unless the service charges have been paid and are up to date so it is important for both buyer and seller for the seller to show that they are up to date. This will smooth the conveyancing process.

Back In 2001, I bought a leasehold flat in Weymouth. Conveyancing and Virgin Money mortgage organised. I have received a letter from someone saying they have taken over the reversionary interest in the property. Attached was a ground rent demand for rent dating back to 1992. The conveyancing solicitor in Weymouth who previously acted has now retired.Any advice?

The first thing you should do is make enquiries of HMLR to make sure that this person is indeed the registered owner of the freehold reversion. There is no need to instruct a Weymouth conveyancing lawyer to do this as it can be done on-line for less than a fiver. You should note that regardless, even if this is the rightful landlord, under the Limitation Act 1980 no more than 6 years of rent can be collected.

What are your top tips when it comes to appointing a Weymouth conveyancing practice to carry out our lease extension conveyancing?

When appointing a conveyancer for your lease extension (regardless if they are a Weymouth conveyancing practice) it is essential that he or she should be familiar with the legislation and specialises in this area of conveyancing. We advise that you speak with two or three firms including non Weymouth conveyancing practices prior to instructing a firm. Where the conveyancing practice is ALEP accredited then that’s a bonus. Some following of questions might be helpful:

  • Can they put you in touch with client in Weymouth who can give a testimonial?
  • What are the legal fees for lease extension conveyancing?

  • Can you provide any advice for leasehold conveyancing in Weymouth with the purpose of saving time on the sale process?

    • A significant proportion of the frustration in leasehold conveyancing in Weymouth can be reduced where you instruct lawyers as soon as your agents start advertising the property and ask them to put together the leasehold information needed by the purchasers’ conveyancers.
    • Many landlords or Management Companies in Weymouth levy fees for providing management packs for a leasehold property. You or your lawyers should discover the fee that they propose to charge. The management information can be applied for as soon as you have a buyer, thus accelerating the process. The typical amount of time it takes to obtain the necessary information is three weeks. It is the most common cause of delay in leasehold conveyancing in Weymouth.
  • A minority of Weymouth leases require Licence to Assign from the landlord. If this applies to your lease, it would be prudent to place the estate agents on notice to make sure that the purchasers put in hand bank and professional references. The bank reference should make it clear that the buyer is able to meet the annual service charge and the actual amount of the service charge should be quoted in the bank’s letter. You will therefore need to provide your estate agents with the service charge figures so that they can pass this information on to the buyers or their solicitors.
  • If you have had conflict with your landlord or managing agents it is essential that these are resolved before the property is marketed. The buyers and their solicitors will be reluctant to purchase a flat where a dispute is unsettled. You may need to swallow your pride and pay any arrears of service charge or resolve the dispute prior to the buyers completing the purchase. It is therefore preferable to have any dispute settled ahead of the contract papers being issued to the buyers’ solicitors. You are still duty bound to disclose particulars of the dispute to the purchasers, but it is better to reveal the dispute as over rather than ongoing.
  • You believe that you know the number of years remaining on your lease but it would be advisable verify this by asking your conveyancers. A purchaser's conveyancer will be unlikely to recommend their client to proceed with the purchase of a leasehold property the lease term is below 80 years. It is therefore essential at an early stage that you identify whether the lease term requires a lease extension. If it does, contact your solicitors before you put your home on the market for sale.

  • When it comes to leasehold conveyancing in Weymouth what are the most frequent lease defects?

    Leasehold conveyancing in Weymouth is not unique. All leases are individual and legal mistakes in the legal wording can sometimes mean that certain provisions are erroneous. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:

    • A provision to repair to or maintain parts of the premises
    • Insurance obligations
    • A provision for the recovery of money spent for the benefit of another party.
    • Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall

    A defective lease can cause issues when trying to sell a property primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Lloyds TSB Bank, Leeds Building Society, and Alliance & Leicester all have express conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, forcing the buyer to pull out.

    I bought a 1 bedroom flat in Weymouth, conveyancing formalities finalised in 2005. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Similar flats in Weymouth with over 90 years remaining are worth £261,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 invoiced every year. The lease terminates on 21st October 2075

    With only 53 years remaining on your lease we estimate the price of your lease extension to span between £29,500 and £34,000 as well as legals.

    The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for extending a lease, but we are not able to advice on a more accurate figure without more detailed investigations. You should not use this information in tribunal or court proceedings. There may be additional issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you should be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action based on this information before getting professional advice.

    Other Topics

    Lease Extensions in Weymouth